THE BUREAU of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources (BFAR) said it has banned the harvest of juvenile mangrove crabs and spiny lobsters to prevent overfishing and implemented a registration system for fishermen harvesting these resources.

In two separate fisheries administrative orders, the BFAR sought to regulate the trade in the two species, and required members of this fishery, including growers and collectors, to be registered with and certified by their local governments.

“The catching of their juveniles and fry are intended for aquaculture seed stock that will be cultured for grow-out and harvested for food. Others, at the very minimum, are harvested for research purposes,” BFAR Information Officer Nazario C. Briguera said in an e-mail.

The transport of mangrove crabs and spiny lobsters is also subject to a transport permitting process.

The Fisheries and Aquatic Resources Management Council is also required to maintain a registry of gatherers, consolidators, traders, and growers of mangrove crabs and spiny lobsters.

Mr. Briguera added that the guidelines are authorized by Section 104 of Republic Act 8550 as amended by RA 10654 or the Amended Fisheries Code.

Section 104 of the Amended Fisheries Code lays down penalties for the export of breeders, spawners, eggs, or fry.

“The guidelines were also to address the concerns of various stakeholders including our fisherfolk for the sustainable utilization of these high-value species (e.g. the observed drop in our lobster production in the past few years),” Mr. Briguera said.

The guidelines will be enforced by the BFAR’s Fisheries Law Enforcement Group at the regional and provincial level, as well as the individual local government units. — Revin Mikhael D. Ochave